A proposal to merge University of Wisconsin System colleges with the state technical college system — on top of a plan to regionalize the UW colleges — threatens to slam the door to education for Wisconsin students who need it most, said UW-Marshfield/Wood County associate professor Kelly Wilz.
The contraction of the two-year school system through cuts in state funding to the UW System is sparking an exodus among the skilled and dedicated instructors who are her colleagues, Wilz wrote on her blog, Dissent and Cookies, in a post picked up by The Academe Blog of the American Association of University Professors.
“The UW Colleges literally embody the Wisconsin Idea — the idea that everyone should have access to affordable, quality education. And now we’re losing our best,” wrote Wilz, who teaches communications and theatre arts.
The “best” faculty at UW-Marshfield, said Wilz, are those who go the extra mile to help their students — part-time, returning and first-generation — succeed.
“Why? Because that’s what you do ... when you believe in students who have never been told they’re worthy. That they matter. That it doesn’t matter if they are the first ones in their families to go to college because we’re here to help them navigate those waters,” Wilz wrote.
She joined the chorus of critics who point to departing colleagues as a sign of the UW's decline.
“Because who wants to work in a system that may not exist a few years, that has been so crippled through defunding and divestment it’s barely able to function?” she wrote.